Headed to the skatepark? Like any social setting, the skatepark comes with its own set of spoken and unspoken rules and social codes. If you aren’t in the know, you could land yourself in some hot water. But never fear! Board Blazers has enlisted the help of our favorite pro skater, Tech Na$ty, to unlock the mystery of the skatepark social scene. Read on to find out what to do and what NOT to do at the skatepark!
DO go to the skatepark. This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but cities and municipalities don’t want to waste care and upkeep on a park that no one is using. The more demand there is for the parks, the more likely the city is to keep your park in good repair. Show up, skatefam!
DON’T over-wax the ledges. Over-waxing leads to super slick surfaces, and that leads to dangerous falls. You can apply some to the coping to smooth out the run (after all, rain and weather can cause rust & cracks), but only if you need to. If you’re worried about a smooth grind, just up your confidence and make your approach faster – it’ll result in a slicker ride. Or consider applying the wax to your board instead of the spots at the park.
DO respect people’s stuff. Another no-brainer, but lots of people at skateparks and guilty of this one. Don’t take things that aren’t yours; respect other people’s property. If someone’s gear is in your way, politely ask them to move it. Being courteous is a sure fire way to make sure your day stays rad.
DON’T snake/tailgate people! Snaking and tailgating is crazy annoying and can also be dangerous. In case you need a little refresher, snaking means cutting another skater (yes, just like cutting in line) and taking your run in the bowl or on the ramp before them. Be courteous and take turns; try to be aware of the order and your place in line for each obstacle. Wait and be patient. Tailgating is the same at a skatepark as it is in your car. Riding too closely behind another skater isn’t just a major eye roll. When you don’t leave appropriate distance between skaters, you’re just asking for an accident. All it takes is one stumble, and both skaters are down. Snaking and tailgating waste people’s turns and cause accidents. You might do it unintentionally, but it’s still rude. Ultimately, always be aware of who and what’s around you.
DO pick up your own trash. If everyone left their trash on the ground, we’d all be drowning in litter. Do your part and pick up after yourself. If your skatepark has no trash can, or you’re not skating at a skatepark, pack out what you pack in. At the very least, make one pile of trash so that litter services doesn’t have to run around chasing your garbage. Being kind to the places where you skate ensures that they last!
DON’T graffiti. It might sound fun to tag your park, but it creates a major headache for you and anyone else who uses the park. Cities typically have a zero-tolerance graffiti policy. This means that as soon as it’s reported, the city has to come to sandblast the graffiti off the surfaces. Then the park has to close for a day (lame!), and the residual sand makes the ledges lose their wax, plus the grit gets in everyone’s bearings. Don’t tag, guys – it hurts us all.
DO vibe it out. Every park is a different community. Just because you know your park’s unspoken rules doesn’t mean it’s the same at the park 5 miles down the road. When you arrive at the skatepark (especially if it’s a new haunt for you), vibe it out - get a feel for the place and don’t rush people. Once you’ve got a read on the situation, find an opening in a run or wait in line at an obstacle to join in the fun.
DON’T Bondo or change a non-skatepark skate spot. While this isn’t specifically skatepark related, it bears mentioning. When you permanently change a surface (like when you use Bondo) people are more likely to notice the presence of skaters. Lots of rad skate spots don’t really want us around, you feel? The more attention you attract, the more you ruin it for the rest of us. Don’t give them a reason to hate. Skate it, love it, and then move on. Don’t mark it permanently and ruin it for everybody.
DO use a spotter – be safe, bros. When attempting crazy stunts, you put yourself, pedestrians, and vehicles around you at risk. Not only can you take a good stumble, but your board can shoot out and cause an accident with other people or a vehicle. Skating is risky and fun - definitely try the crazy rad tricks! But don’t do it without another skater spotting you and your board – just in case.
DON’T sit on ledges. DUDES, this is the worst. The right place to relax at the skatepark is on a bench. People come to skate the obstacles, so don’t park yourself on them. Sitting on rails & ledges is the ultimate in very lame. If you’re waiting for your turn, don’t sit on a ledge, bro.
DO play it safe. Come to the skatepark fully prepared (see our article on what to bring to the skatepark!). At the very least, bring your helmet & safety gear, snacks, and your Board Blazers!
DON’T play S.K.A.T.E. at a small skatepark. While it’s a rad game (see our article full of tips and tricks for S.K.A.T.E.!), it takes up a ton of space, and you’ll want to leave yourself some room. Either choose a park with enough flat skate space that you aren’t taking over all of it or find a parking lot - someplace with enough space for you and your homies. If your park is super crowded, consider heading to a different spot.
While there are lots of unspoken social codes in the skater world, Tech Na$ty’s above rules should help you win friends and respect at any skatepark. Now that you’ve got all this new knowledge, grab your board, your Board Blazers, and a few friends – get out there and shred!